Path to Formula One: World Series Formula V8 3.5
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The World Series Formula V8 3.5 is a top-level feeder series for drivers seeking to enter Formula One. It was known as Formula Renault 3.5 from 2005 to 2016 before Renault pulled its funding and RPM Racing took over the organization, as it had originally from 1998 to 2004.
The series has long been considered to be as good a test of skill for potential F1 drivers as the FIA Formula 2 Championship, though fewer champions from the World Series Formula V8 3.5 have graduated to Formula One as from F2. Because Renault supplies engines and now owns a team in Formula One, a good share of the drivers who did graduate from Formula Renault 3.5 to Formula One were those who had been picked up by a Renault-powered team—most notably Red Bull, via its young driver program.
The series awards a significant amount of FIA Super License points—fewer only than the aforementioned Formula 2 and the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.
Like Formula 2, a World Series Formula V8 3.5 race weekend includes two races, though unlike F2, both races are just as long (40 minutes each) and award the same number of championship points. Drivers qualify for each of the two races in two separate 30-minute qualifying sessions and must make a mandatory pit stop in the second race.
All cars and engines across the World Series Formula V8 3.5 grid are the same to put a bigger emphasis on driver and team ability. They use a Dallara T12 chassis, Ricardo six-speed semi-automatic gearbox, Michelin tires, and a naturally-aspirated 3.4-liter V8 engine produced by Zytek-Renault that revs up to 9,500 RPM and outputs approximately 530 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. The cars also employ a similar Drag Reduction System as in Formula One.
The following table shows the top three results of every Formula Renault 3.5 and World Series Formula V8 3.5 since 2005. Drivers in bold are currently in Formula One, while drivers in italics were formerly. Names in bold and italics are currently test and/or reserve drivers.
A notable but omitted name in the table is that of Sebastian Vettel, who had been leading the 2007 championship before he withdrew to race in Formula One. Vettel is now a four-time world champion and is currently driving for Ferrari.
Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.